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Protest at Bute House after Scottish Government scraps 2030 climate targets



Activists have criticised the Scottish Government for scrapping its 2030 target to reduce carbon emissions by 75%.

On Tuesday protesters from Friends of the Earth Scotland, the Landworkers’ Alliance, Scot.E3, This is Rigged and other organisations gathered outside Bute House, Edinburgh, where they urged First Minister Humza Yousaf to take responsibility for axing the target.

The protest comes on the same day that Chris Stark, chief executive of the Climate Change Committee (CCC), expressed doubt about whether the target to reduce the number of kilometres travelled by car by 20% by 2030 would be met.

Speaking at the protest, Caroline Rance of Friends of the Earth Scotland said she doubted the Scottish Government would continue to fight climate change despite removing the 2030 target.

She said: “Why should we believe that when they take those targets away, they’re going to start doing something amazing?

“So what they have proposed is a betrayal, not only of the millions of people around the world who are living with the reality of the climate crisis right now, but it’s a betrayal of the thousands of people in Scotland whose lives could be made better by insulating homes.

“One in three houses in Scotland lives in fuel poverty. The Scottish Government could have been doing something about that but they chose not to.

“It’s a betrayal of all the fossil fuel workers who could have been moved into good green jobs, the Scottish Government could have been funding training, supporting those people, but they chose not to.”

Dylan Hamilton of Fridays for Future Scotland, told the crowd the Scottish Government has “failed” and has “abandoned targets”, adding: “Had the Scottish Government acted on their promises with the urgency the climate crisis demands, the urgency they claimed they understood was necessary, we would be well on our way to reaching this target and beyond.

“Yet despite all this wonderful rhetoric and all the promises accompanied by the ‘world-leading’ targets, we are still barrelling towards imminent climate breakdown.”

Jen Newall of This is Rigged, told the rally the decision to end the 2030 target brought “heartbreak” and “grief” to the people of Scotland.

She said: “Was there anybody else here who cried when they heard, not the news that the Government were scrapping the targets, because we already knew that was coming, but when you heard that in all reality we were not achieving what we, Scotland, has signed up to be doing in our emissions reductions?”

Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan announced a new package of climate action measures last week, including trebling the number of electric vehicle charging points.

Speaking to the media earlier on Tuesday, Mr Yousaf said he welcomed the protesters “making their voices heard”.

He added: “We do hear them and we do listen to them.

“That 2030 target, moving away from it, has been exceptionally difficult, there’s no two ways about it.

“It was always a stretch target. It was beyond the advice that was given to us by the independent Climate Change Committee.

“But what hasn’t changed is our ambition. We’re not moving a single day away from the 2045 target, let alone of course moving away from the action that we have to take.”

He added his Government had “accelerated” action to tackle climate targets.

A Scottish Government spokesman previously said: “The Scottish Government’s proposed new Climate Change Bill will retain our legal commitment to achieve net zero by 2045 alongside annual reporting on progress, while introducing a target approach based on five-yearly carbon budgets, an approach utilised by both the UK and Welsh governments, and which aligns with the nuanced and practical approaches to reducing emissions advocated by the Climate Change Committee.

“Our legal commitment to reach net zero by 2045 steadfastly remains, and with emissions in Scotland already nearly cut in half, we are well positioned to continue leading on climate action that is fair, ambitious, and capable of rising to the emergency before us.

“That is why, last week, this Government also announced a raft of new climate action across transport, agriculture, taxation, land use, aviation and industry.

“It is delivery against our restated ambition that will make the difference and continue our progress to 2045.”

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